Mattress U was back in session at Nationwide’s recent PrimeTime event, this one held virtually.

I’ve been honored to take the stage at Mattress U several times in recent years, and it was my pleasure to join the latest event from the comfort of my home office in High Point.

I miss the give-and-take of an in-person presentation, which gives me a chance to see what is on the minds of my listeners, but I appreciate the kind words I received from attendees who heard my recent talk.

“Bedding’s New Normal: How the pandemic has reshaped the mattress landscape” was my topic, one that I fleshed out with Furniture Today research and an overview of industry trends.

I told the Nationwide members that they should reimagine their bedding businesses in three ways, each of which is a pivot necessitated by the pandemic.

First, they must reorient their marketing to focus on the importance of a good night of sleep.

I noted that consumer research recently presented by Serta Simmons Bedding found that 58% of consumers say the pandemic will change the way they sleep. This is a great opening for the industry. Consumers know that sleep is important as they aim to combat COVID-19. Retailers must make the better sleep connection, one that consumers are particularly receptive to in the current climate.

Furnitureland South’s new Sleepland bedding department features a powerful “Sleep + Health” display that touts the power of “sound, restorative sleep.” That’s a good example for other retailers to follow.

Second, retailers must reimagine their businesses to incorporate safe shopping protocols, including mask wearing and temperature checks. SSB’s consumer research found that consumers feel safer with retailers who have policies on those protocols.

I also talked about Tempur Sealy International’s impressive Clean Shop Promise, which promotes the use of masks, social distancing , mattress and pillow shields, and encourages retailers to use appointments. I also talked about the mattress and pillow shields offered by Precision Textiles.

And I noted that both TSI and SSB are offering products with antimicrobial technology, which are definitely right for the times.

Third, I said, retailers must reimagine their businesses along digital lines. The pandemic has brought about a new wave of online shopping, one that could push online’s share of the mattress retail market as high as 35% this year.

Again, retailers have certainly heard many calls to boost their digital games, but I fear that many still aren’t moving aggressively enough in the online arena.

I reviewed Furniture Today research that shows the bedding e-tailers are growing far more rapidly than traditional bedding retailers. There’s a useful saying here: If you can’t beat them, join them.

Those are the three pivots that I believe retailers must make as they navigate the changing landscape in this pandemic world.

The post Blog: Here are three ways pandemic is reshaping bedding landscape appeared first on Furniture Today.

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